Okafor headlines '09 Centex D-Line crop

The Class of 2009 has several elite defensive linemen and several of them call Central Texas home. Like some of the Central Texas position's already profiled, the defensive linemen in this cycle give the region on of it's deepest and most talented groups in recent years.

Relatively speaking 2008 was a weak year for defensive linemen in Central Texas.

The Brazos Valley produced the only two players along the defensive front that signed with an FBS school (Bryan's Torlan Pittman and A&M Consolidated's Andrew Ellison, both with SMU).

Take a look at the bigger picture and it is noticeable that despite producing the likes of Tommie Harris (Killeen Ellison in 2001) and Roy Miller (Killeen Shoemaker in 2005), Central Texas does not produce a tremendous amount of defensive line talent.

But fear not prep gridiron fans from Waco to Austin and Bryan to Llano and everywhere in between, because Central Texas has several elite defensive line prospects for the 2009 class and what is already a deep class. The 2009 group in fact, like the group of offensive linemen and running backs that have already been profiled, could be one of the best the area has ever seen.

When breaking down the line further defensive end is a strong position for college recruiters than defensive tackle this season, mostly because of numbers but it also has a lot to do with who is at the head of the defensive end class not just in the area, but in the state of Texas for 2009.

The player of note is Pflugerville defensive end Alex Okafor, a four star prospect who also happens to be the top rated end in Texas and the No. 3 end in the nation. Okafor will head to Texas with a nice size/speed combination off of the edge at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds and with 4.67 speed. He was an all-District and all-Central Texas selection as a junior, but he his level of play was tremendous in the post season as he seemed to play better when the stakes were higher in the Panthers' march to the Class 5A, Division I state championship game. Okafor can not only get to the quarterback, but he holds up very well against the run and has outstanding lateral quickness, allowing him to get down the line of scrimmage and chase plays down from the backside.

Speed on the edge seems to be a common theme among this year's Central Texas line prospects and that is definitely the case with two players from the Super Centex, China Spring's Ryan Boutwell and Waco High's Andrew Weaver.

Weaver was part of the one of the best defensive line's in the state last year for the Class 4A Lions and he was used primary to attack the edge and he did just that earning all-District and all-Central Texas honors last season. He has good speed with a reported 4.7 clocking and has room to add weight to his 6-foot-3-inch frame.

Boutwell was a two-way standout for the Cougars who reached the Class 3A, Division II state championship game but he did most of his damage on defense. Also an all-Central Texas selection last season, Boutwell has solid size at 6-foot-3, and 225 pounds and has tremendous strength, as is evident by his 50 pancake blocks along the offensive line, which set a school record.

Panning inside to defensive tackle the biggest prospect from Central Texas, both literally and figuratively, is Pflugerville Hendrickson's Darius Banks. A mammoth run stopper at 6-foot, 325-pounds, Banks has already started to receive college interest from several big time programs and should be inking a Division I Letter of Intent next February.

Central Texas has several other players along the defensive line to keep an eye on this fall, including Waco La Vega's Timmy Kemp, Austin McCallum's Cody Miller, and Austin Crockett's Kevin Park.

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